Giving to the Next Generation: Evans' journey from MLB Draft to Coaching
Baseball is unique because it's a journey to get where you want to be.
Whether that's being successful in high school, reaching the college level, or maybe the minors and even one day, the majors.
Mike Evans has a lifetime of baseball experiences to pull from for daily lessons at St. Pius X. The third-year baseball coach of the Panthers passes on his biggest lesson from the game – perseverance.
"It's not a matter of how you start out, it's how you finish," Evans said. "We talk about perseverance. We talk about how there are multiple avenues of where you want to go in life. It doesn't matter if you're in sports or business. You don't have to look at the big school to play for. You can start at a small school and end up with a professional contract."
Evans' journey from Dobie High School to the Kansas City Royals' farm system could be considered a bit untraditional. He started his college career playing at Lee College before going to Galveston Junior College. He finished at Lubbock Christian University.
It was after his time at LCU that Evans was drafted in the 22nd round of the 1993 MLB Draft by the Royals. Evans would spend the next six years rising through the system, reaching as high as Double-A in what would be his final year in 1998. In his six minor league seasons, Evans hit .209 with 221 RBIs, 63 home runs and 67 doubles.
As Evans reminisced about his playing days, his message for his 20-year-old self at the time would have been – "focus more on what worked, instead of trying to change things when things weren't working."
"When you get to that level, everybody is physically the same. Across the board you're strong, everybody can throw the same velocity, but who's going to be the most mentally consistent," Evans said. "My mental approach wasn't there. I believed in being successful, but I beat myself up too much."
After his playing days were over, Evans got into teaching special education. When he started, he wasn't coaching at all.
The middle school at the time knew his background and approached him to come coach. Ironically, he started with track and football, and then eventually got into baseball again.
Since he made the jump back onto the diamond, he hasn't left. Evans spent 14 years at Waltrip High School — half as an assistant and the other as the head coach — before coming to St. Pius X three years ago.
"It's awesome; it's fun," Evans said about coaching. "I like coming up with a practice plan that's going to keep them interested and keep it flowing both constructive and fun. Everybody loves talent, whether it's in the classroom or on the field. But I also love seeing the guys grow and develop. Those high school guys who want an experience, but can contribute to the team and have good chemistry.
"At the end of the day, you don't know who's going to translate to the college and professional level."
When he came over to St. Pius X, Evans knew there was something special about the place.
"We talk about family when we have people come in and tour our school," Evans said. "We don't talk about academics, they're there. We talk about how important family is here. We know everybody in the school, the kids know each other and their families. There's a camaraderie here that I haven't experienced at another school I've worked at or went to. It makes me feel part of the family as well, even though I've only been here for three years."